Archive for July, 2008

Trivioku puzzle #1

Posted on 31/07/08 | in twitter

Trivioku1

Trivioku1

1.Which country’s capital city shares its name with a type of grape? (4)
2.Which tuberous vegetable is often wrongly called a sweet potato? (3)
3.What name is given to a benign tumour composed of fat tissue? (6)
4.Which African language’s dialects are divided into three groups,Northern,Benaadir and Maay? (6)
5.Klein,Wolf and Campbell – what do they have in common? (5)
6.Which religion’s name means ‘surrender (to God)’? (5)
7. What do Goldfrapp and Moyet share,but not Hannigan? (6)
8. Alfred — is an actor who has played Tony Hancock and Doctor Octopus.(6)
9. What term is given to money paid to a former unmarried partner? (8)

HINT: Gods and athletes

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The author did it

Posted on 05/07/08 | in ideas, play

There’s an interesting article about G K Chesterton in the latest New Yorker (the article’s not online yet), which mentions in passing that GKC ‘must have influenced’ Borges – indeed he did. It sent me ferreting off to find some of the essays where Borges wrote about him, and I found one I hadn’t come across before, ‘The Labyrinths of the Detective Story and Chesterton’.

Anyway, what caught my eye was Borges listing what he took to be the rules of classic detective fiction. Here they are (his words in italics, my comments afterwards):

A. A discretional limit of six characters.
B. The declaration of all the terms of the problem. This is basically Dorothy L Sayers’ ‘fair play’ rule – I’m sure I saw an essay of hers with a list of principles once, but I can’t track it down.
C. An avaricious economy of means. I’m not totally certain what he’s on about here (he only gives counterexamples, eg Conan Doyle regularly breaks B), though I think there’s a tone of Occam’s razor about it.
D. The priority of how over who. ie what happened is more interesting to deduce than who actually did it.
E. A reticence concerning death. (He adds that detective fiction’s “glacial muses are hygieve, fallacy and order”. I think he means it should be an elegant puzzle rather than a gore-fest.
F. A solution that is both necessary and marvellous. There’s only one solution, which makes the reader boggle – but has no recourse to the supernatural. Chesterton’s Father Brown is his model.

That was written in 1935 – only a few years after Ronald Knox came up with his ten commandments for detective fiction (1929) and SS Van Dine formulated his twenty rules (1929). (Side note to self: ooh, I must track down The Sins of Father Knox.)

Anyway, er yeah, not sure why I’m posting this – just interested me. I wonder if there are similar principles that make games work?